By MIKE MORRIS
A new gym at Mark Twain Elementary School came closer to reality last night when Angels Camp City Council members voted unanimously to allocate $40,000 to the project.
While the money is just a fraction of the gym's estimated $3.4 million price tag, it could help secure $1.5 million in state joint-use funding.
The Mark Twain Union Elementary School District must receive a minimum of $180,000 to qualify for joint-use funding. In addition to Angels Camp's $40,000, the district has asked the Calaveras County Board of Supervisors for $180,000.
District Superintendent Richard Brewer said supervisors are considering the request. The board decided Monday that each of Calaveras County's five supervisorial districts will get $240,000 in state funding for parks and recreation projects.
That funding bond proceeds from Proposition 40, approved by California voters last year is how Angels Camp will pay its gym contribution.
But no gym will be built if a $9.8 bond measure on the upcoming March ballot isn't approved by 55 percent of school district voters. Of the bond total, $1.9 million would be coupled with the joint-use funding to build the gym.
Under the joint-use funding agreement, gym doors must be open to the public a minimum of 20 hours per week for at least 20 years. Council members discussed creating adult basketball leagues to use the new gym.
The 10,000-square-foot gym could contain three basketball and two volleyball courts along with bleacher and floor seating for several hundred people. There would be a snack bar and bathrooms for public use, but no locker rooms or showers.
Tom Owen, Mark Twain's athletic director, told council members the school's nearly 600 students can't fit into the existing gym, which was built in 1952.
"I have the title of being a gym teacher without a gym," Owen said.
Mark Twain Elementary School pays $400 a month to hold athletic events at the Calaveras County Fairgrounds, Owen said.
"It's not on campus," he said. "It's really inconvenient."